Thursday, December 30, 2010

dressing breautifully in custom fit clothing

There is a corner of my sewing room set aside for helping readers with your fit questions. We can all dress beautifully in custom fit clothing.  Not just passable, but beautiful.  Fitting is very hard to do on oneself.  It is much easier to fit another person's body (or accept help if you are getting too frustrated).
I have been working with a handful of you and it is fun.  I would love to post pictures of the fitting process for your bodice.  Each reader has given permission to post photos, but I haven't posted thes progress pictures yet.  I think the posts will be so much more interesting if there is a nice "after" shot.  The way it works, is I keep the pattern so I can fine-tune it.  Once it is finished, I mail you the pattern.  Then we can have more fashion fun by showing how to use those blocks to adjust commercial patterns.

Pre-treating fusible interfacing

I am certainly staying busy.  On Male Pattern Boldness, Peter asked whether some of us pre-treat our thread?  Oh, please.  (but he made me think.  that is not a good sign)

So!  I am very excited about my sewing plans.

I will be sewing TWO coats in January!  Yes, I am preparing for a big coat sewalong with myself.  I am sewing this vintage pattern and I decided to sew it in a beautiful dark teal wool.  I am saving the novelty coating white & charcoal (from my previous post) for another day.
AND, I am sewing a coat for Kelly, my stepdaughter.  She has a coat that dates back to her high school days (a real classic) and she just needs a new one.  Easy project because no decisions necessary - I am just going to replicate the existing coat (plus some minor fitting adjustments for her grown-up body). 

So, that is why I am  pre-treating a whole role of fusible interfacing.  The process has actually been pretty painless but, yeah, for a minute I thought, "what the heck have I gotten myself into?"  I bought the bolt at JoAnn's at a very low coupon /sale price quite a while back, so I am glad to make use of it.

OK, what else can I stir up around here?  I think that is quite enough.
Happy Almost New Year!! 

My crystal ball sees a lot of pressing in the near future.  And pattern work.  I need to prepare both patterns.  Yay for 4-day weekends!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

here's one for those of you surfing the internet on Christmas day :)

Consider this my little Christmas gift to those of you bored out of your minds and thinking, please, can we get back to sewing already?  You know who you are!
It has a loose weave so I am wondering how to stabilize.  I think I'd like to block fuse the whole thing with a supple interfacing that won't change the hand.  But where can I have that done in the DC metropolitan area?  It's an awful lot of fusing to be done with an iron.  What do you think?
Click here for link to my post on vintage coat Butterick 4627

Every year Christmas is different for me (and you too, right?).  The worst one for me, of course, was in 1968 when the state trooper knocked on the door with bad news.  My father had died in a car accident.  What started as a fun happy Christmas ended in despair and devastation.  I was 3 months shy of my 12th birthday and I literally grew up that night.  I am the oldest and my youngest brother was born the following August, right after the moon landing.  He was a ray of sunshine, that baby was.  

Some years, I remember my father, with much love, and the holidays are wonderful.  Other years, the dread sets in around Halloween.  No matter what I do, it is like walking through wet cement to "get through" the holidays.  This can happen even in a good year (like this one).  I had a fantastic Christmas celebration with my daughter just last weekend.  Last night - a wonderful time with my DH, DSD and DSS at my mother's house.  My siblings and nieces were there and we all had a blast.  Today is a more intimate afternoon with the immediate family.  My daughter is not here, but like I said, she is in my heart and I am grateful for her love.  

Having said all that, this year was a trudging-through-the-cement year for me, emotionally speaking. I know there are many of you coping right now with much worse.  It can be lonely and isolating when everyone else seems to be having a wonderful time.  I know the feeling.
Just remember, the feeling is temporary, and it will get better.  Everyone will get back to living everyday life very soon!

Thank you for being here - you enrich my life and I appreciate your companionship more than I can express.

Heartfelt Love and Peace to All

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the haul, and the winner of the fabric give-away

The queen of jackets, Gigi, was the lucky winner of the lightweight wool fabric.  Rather appropriate that her number came up, isn't it?  (Please send me an email with your address!)
Speaking of Gigi, she commented that I'd return with luscious fabric from Korea, and here is my haul.  

Not exactly visions of sugar plums that were dancing in your head, eh?  I did get samples from the vendor so I can purchase more muslin and have it shipped to me.  It is really nice!

As far as beautiful fabric, I shopped through my stash last week to see what I might use to sew jackets and I was so inspired by the fabric I own.  I feel fabric-sated at the moment.

I learned my travel lessons in February. This time I experienced no jet-lag discomfort at all.  I slept on the flights and slept when I was tired.  The trick for me, is not to force my internal body clock against its wishes.  Of course, I didn't have to adhere to any schedule, either.  And I know the sense of familiarity was an important component.  It was nice to recognize where I was and I knew how to get around.  Considering I never left the US until I was 45 years old, I am enjoying these new opportunities.  I appreciate that I have a sense of innocence and wonder, at my age.  Being provincial has its advantages ;)

There are no words to describe the feeling of being with my daughter.  We talk regularly and we use Skype, so it's not like we lose track of each other.  But I do ache for her sometimes.   I got my Laura-Love with this visit!  I am good for another 10 months :)

And you know what else surprised me a little... this is so NOT sewing-related, but anyway... her friends are amazing!  I sorta have a sense of who they are (following on Facebook) but, in person, I experienced Liz's warmth and wisdom, Brittny's artistic aesthetic, Sophie's Liz Lemon-ness, Cassie's brilliance, Carl's kindness and Barbara's steady calm intelligence.   It feels so good knowing my daughter is surrounded with amazing friends.

Happy Sewing, All

Friday, December 17, 2010

In Seoul!

Huge surprise to me that I've gotten my iPhone to work here. I brought it just for the camera functionality. Another surprise is that my macBook Pro is not working and can't figure that one out.
I am not allowing myself to think about the roaming charges :)

So, a little travel tip- if you get inadequate sleep the night before you leave, it is easier to sleep on the flight.
Another tidbit - don't fret too much about the time difference. As long as you are rested, that is the most important thing.
Fortunately I am with night owl young folks and I am actually energetic when they are.

And even if you feel a special bond with your daughter; even if you are proud of her courageous globe-trotting, nothing beats a hug. That afore-mentioned bond gives a mom leeway for hugging a little too hard maybe a little too long.

OK, if these kids, er young adults, don't wake up soon (it is 10:30am) here, I am going to the textile Mecca Dongdaemun by myself!

Koreans are warm and helpful people, I find.

Love from South Korea!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In 2011 - a jacket a month? FABRIC GIVE-AWAY

You probably read Gigi's blog and you know that she sewed 12 jackets in 2010.  And if you read Stitcher's Guild sewing discussion forum, you know that Gigi has inspired many of us to sew 12 jackets in 2011.
My first reaction was, "oh no, that's too hard!" but my friend Martha posted this great pattern to remind me that not every jacket (or outer layer) has to be hard:
(printscreen from Facebook)
And I have just the fabric for it!  I bought this piece (60" wide, 1.5 yards) from EmmaOneSock quite a while back.  While I was waiting for the perfect pattern to come along, I fell out of love with the ivory color.  The ivory squiggles run parallel with the selvedge edge.  Ivory does me no favors, I am better in a true white.  So, readers, here is your chance.

Are you participating in the jacket sew-along?  I'd really love to see this sewn up and posted on your blog, or on Stitcher's Guild - or if you send me a picture, I will post on this blog.
What do you say?  I will mail this anywhere in the world and postage is my treat.  Leave a comment and  I will select randomly on December 21.
Give yourself a gift (if you like this fabric, that is) and sew yourself a sweatery topper.  It is a sweater knit in black & ivory, and it's fairly sheer, much like the fabric used in the Vogue version.

*cheers, everyone!*

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gift Exchange: check!

Here we are - Sharon wearing her new scarf and me with Weekend Sewing authored by Heather Ross.  Now, the best part - the book is signed by the author!  Does my face show how I felt to receive this gift?

Another best part, is that I had actually purchased the book and read it (ha, ha, sorry girls!) before gifting it to my nieces.  I bought it right after reading LindsayT's review on her blog.
I love the book just as much as Meg did and I am really happy to have my very own, personally signed copy.  Thank you Sharon!! And thank you Holly for playing photographer today with my iPhone.
Happy Holidays everyone-


Sunday, December 12, 2010

McCall's 5974 Perfect Knit Dress

I sewed a fun winter dress for myself using McCall's 5974.  I lined it with tricot to be a little warmer & more convenient than wearing a slip.  I did not bother to do my hair or makeup, sorry!
During holiday season, the cutting table makes a great gift wrapping table!

Are you busy?  Yes, I am too!  But DH had to be away Friday night, so I sewed a lot that night and on Saturday morning.  Lots to do, though!   I imagine I will be posting again before Christmas, but if not - I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
Happy sewing :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

adjusting a sleeve for an adjusted armscye

When the upper bodice, in the shoulder area, is made smaller, the corresponding sleeve won't fit - because the bodice at the bottom of the armscye is now larger.  In this case, the bodice is 1.5 inches larger at that point.
and the related sleeve adjustment:

This is a test sleeve to be sewn with the adjusted bodice pattern.  It will need to be fitted from there.   If the shoulder alterations are more complicated, the impact on the sleeve must be considered.  For example, if the shoulder seam is moved forward, so is the sleeve cap.

more to come...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A pretty dress comes from a frankenpattern

I would like to sew this Butterick 5523 in one of those double-knits that everyone is sewing lately.  Gorgeous Fabrics and have them.
This is a pretty easy pattern to alter for shoulder weirdness. 
ooops, don't mean to bad-mouth my body parts, but well, if the shoe fits...

Anyway, this is an alteration I will tackle because the bodice is so similar to my fitted tried and true (TNT) bodice block. 
Important caveat:  If I have a pattern that includes the entire range of sizes I need, I will trace each area in the size that fits me. 
Sadly, that is not always available, so I resort to cutting & pasting as follows.

Just for reference, here is an approximation of a standard bodice block:

wonder whose shoulders look like this?

And now for the pattern surgery.  The unaltered bodice from Butterick 5523 (without seam allowances) is aligned with my fitted TNT bodice in the next picture:
So that is the story.  Did it make sense to those of you who wonder, "once I understand my own shoulders, how do I make a pattern fit me?"  This is how I do it.  And, it really works pretty well.

In the best world, the pattern has everything from size 10-20 and I can get everything I need to make the dress fit.  Of course, there are variable with every project.  Sometimes, it is way easier to make a franken-pattern adjustment like I have described above.

If you have questions, please ask.  If you would like to send photos to me, of your shoulder fitting problems, please do!  I keep learning more every day and it is my true pleasure to share my knowledge and help you sew clothes that will please you.  It has made such a difference in my life to wear clothes that please me.
I cannot begin to describe what it has done for my self esteem to create my own clothing.

Have a good one, everybody!
And thanks for reading,
your friend in shoulder adjustments,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

finished shirt (aka the mojo killer)

About a month ago, I decided to sew another shirt, and I planned to curve the shoulder seam.  It made sense after seeing the results on this shirt.  I promptly altered the pattern and cut another shirt.  Small problem - I  made multiple mistakes on the pattern adjustment and, in my haste, I cut my TNT pattern!  Agony.  I had to go back and re-draft the TNT pattern, AND, make all sorts of fiddly corrections to the fabric in order to make it work.  As a result, it sat on my dressform for quite a while, serving as the backdrop for other projects.  I loved the fabric, so I wasn't willing to give up on it.  I just plugged away over time and I finally sewed the buttons this morning.  I love this shirt now!

And in other news, I finished the gift sewing for this year.  I made several scarves.  Here is one of them:

That's it!  I am in great shape as far as holiday preparation goes.  The only "to-do" left is to shake this cold before I fly to Korea in 10 days.  I am excited - I am going to visit my daughter during the week before Christmas.  I'll be back in time to celebrate here, so it will be the best of all options.  I mean, sure I could go to Bali with her and her boyfriend for Christmas.  I am sure I'd be welcome, right?  yeah, of course! :O
But no, I'd rather be back in the US for Christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

another mysterious shoulder fitting situation

This one is for dear reader H (DRH).   DRH writes that she can never get the shoulders to fit, and she provided me with her measurements.  I whipped up a basic bodice to her measurements and I traced it onto the muslin.  All you have to do, DRH, is insert a zipper in the back and sew up the bodice along the marked stitching lines.  I used Burda World of Fashion (BWOF) magazine pattern #140 from October 2010.
BWOF #140 from October 2010 - meant for stretch knits, but we'll start with a woven to diagnose the fit.
Because this is really a T-shirt pattern, it will be quite a snug fit right off the bat.  But I think that will be helpful.  We'll figure out the shoulder first, then work our way down the bodice.
More later,